Awesome & Affordable Nano Lowtech Build

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Vishaquatics

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Hi FishLore!

I recently created a lowtech planted aquarium for a classroom and it has been a huge success. It was fairly affordable and I believe that this setup could be a great, foolproof method for a beautiful lowtech planted tank.

Setup:
Aquarium - Aqueon 5.5 gallon - $14
Lighting - Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Clip Light - $36
Substrate - 8.8lb Fluval Stratum - $23
50GPH Circulation Pump - $5

TOTAL: $78

It is not the cheapest setup out there, but it is very effective and good if you want to try your hand at more difficult lowtech aquarium plants.

Fertilizer & Maintenance:
APT Complete by 2HR Aquarist (1mL twice a week)
Seachem Excel (0.5-1mL Daily)
No Water Changes, just topping off Evaporated Water (No algae at all from start to present)

Livestock & Plants:
Cherry shrimp and some bladder snails only, I believe 5.5 gallon may be too small to keep anything else

Plants

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Here's what I believe contributed heavily to the success.
  • Consistent fertilization with the excel and the APT Complete. I am normally opposed to using Flourish excel in my own aquariums, but since this tank was exposed to lots of light throughout the day, excel has proven helpful in keeping the algae at bay. In fact, it is so good that there has never been a single trace of algae in this aquarium since it was created. Although the heavy plant mass plays a large part, the excel gives the plants a nice boost and also physically kills the algae.
  • The substrate. The fluval stratum seems to really help in facilitating plant growth. I don't think I would've been able to successfully grow Rotala H'ra without the substrate and the light.
  • The light. This is the first finnex lighting product I have tested and I am thoroughly impressed. It has just the right light output for a lowtech tank, enough for color, but not too much for algae. It was enough to get my rotala H'ra a really nice pink color. The camera does not do the pink color justice. It is much richer in person. The ludwigia has also started to turn a slight red. By the time it reaches the surface, I believe it'll be a very rich red color. With other brands of lighting, I haven't been able to get colors or growth like I have here. This light is absolutely amazing and affordable for smaller tanks.
 

Fishcat

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That is gorgeous! Now I need to go trim my plants.
 

idkausernamesoyeah

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do the shrimp build like a successful colony in there?? also they r very sensitive howd u make it so that the water parameters r good for them without having to do water changes?? how often do u feed
 

Inner10

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idkausernamesoyeah said:
do the shrimp build like a successful colony in there?? also they r very sensitive howd u make it so that the water parameters r good for them without having to do water changes?? how often do u feed
Don't expect neos to reproduce with a buffering substrate, they will live just fine but they want a fairly high KH and moderatly hard water. A buffering substrate will hold PH rock solid at a specific level but strips all the KH from the water.

Nice tank though!
 
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Vishaquatics

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idkausernamesoyeah said:
do the shrimp build like a successful colony in there?? also they r very sensitive howd u make it so that the water parameters r good for them without having to do water changes?? how often do u feed
So far, about 3 out of the 4 females in there are berried (they went into the tank not pregnant, so they have definitely bred within their new home). As far as shrimp go, cherry shrimp are the hardiest and I don't do water changes because I want to keep the parameters stable and the plants act as the main filter. However, this would not be possible if I didn't have such a massive plant load. If I just stuck in a couple of java fern, that would not have the same filtration capacity as the rest of those plants in there.

I feed twice a week w/ algae wafers.

Inner10 said:
Don't expect neos to reproduce with a buffering substrate, they will live just fine but they want a fairly high KH and moderatly hard water. A buffering substrate will hold PH rock solid at a specific level but strips all the KH from the water.

Nice tank though!
Fluval stratum is specifically created for shrimp. Many of the females in there are berried, but I have yet to see the babies yet because the shrimp were only added about a month ago (maybe a little less).

I also have UNS Controsoil at home which I think does buffer the water a lot. I have the shrimp breeding perfectly fine, with babies and everything.
 

Inner10

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Vishaquatics said:
So far, about 3 out of the 4 females in there are berried (they went into the tank not pregnant, so they have definitely bred within their new home). As far as shrimp go, cherry shrimp are the hardiest and I don't do water changes because I want to keep the parameters stable and the plants act as the main filter. However, this would not be possible if I didn't have such a massive plant load. If I just stuck in a couple of java fern, that would not have the same filtration capacity as the rest of those plants in there.

I feed twice a week w/ algae wafers.



Fluval stratum is specifically created for shrimp. Many of the females in there are berried, but I have yet to see the babies yet because the shrimp were only added about a month ago (maybe a little less).

I also have UNS Controsoil at home which I think does buffer the water a lot. I have the shrimp breeding perfectly fine, with babies and everything.
Saying a substrate is specifically designed for shrimp is like saying it's specifically designed for fish. Different shrimp like different parameters, Neos like higher KH and GH. Buffering substrates are better for Caridina.
 

Derek2408

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Impressive
 

jpaquatics

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Inner10 said:
Saying a substrate is specifically designed for shrimp is like saying it's specifically designed for fish. Different shrimp like different parameters, Neos like higher KH and GH. Buffering substrates are better for Caridina.
The substrate is designed for shrimp, it literally says on the package. The balls of soil are meant for the baby shrimp to hide within. I have kept Neos with fluval stratum for nearly 3 years with great success. The females were constantly berried and I went from starting off with 5 shrimp to hundreds by the time I broke the tank down. Neos are very hardy and will thrive with the substrate. The babies really appreciate hiding within the individual pieces!
 

Inner10

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Jeremy Pearce said:
The substrate is designed for shrimp, it literally says on the package. The balls of soil are meant for the baby shrimp to hide within. I have kept Neos with fluval stratum for nearly 3 years with great success. The females were constantly berried and I went from starting off with 5 shrimp to hundreds by the time I broke the tank down. Neos are very hardy and will thrive with the substrate. The babies really appreciate hiding within the individual pieces!
I hear ya, I've never used Stratum so I can't give it a yay or nay, I still can't see a buffering substrate being good with Neos as it strips the KH. But if it works, go for it.
 
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